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Bigger Isn’t Always Better And…….

(Posted on Feb 21, 2015 at 02:17PM )

.....How We Can Often Be Our Own Worst Enemies.

bigger isn't always better

Now and again I take pause, as I did last week from my usual topics on integrated marketing, some of which you can find here on Pulse, to discuss relevant topics that I feel strongly about when it comes to how companies operate and how they make their decisions.

In this post I discuss two different topics that do connect and by connecting them I hope to open your mind to help you look at things from different perspectives and in doing so lead you to make better and more informed decisions.

If you think I succeed in this effort leave a comment and let me know and equally if you feel that I did not.

The Mentor

A smart businessman and mentor once told me a story that has stay with me to this day. Years ago I was in a hurry to purchase a piece of real estate that I thought I could make a good profit on. After I told him about my urgency in wanting to purchase it and not knowing much about it other than it seemed like a good deal he felt that I was in too much hurry to buy and felt compelled to tell me the following story I am about to relate to you, so…………………

The Story

Two Bulls were standing on the top of a hill gazing down below on a beautiful sunny day at a herd of cows that were lazily grazing in a lush green pasture. One of the two bulls was young and sure of himself but lacked experience and was too quick to make decisions.

The other bull was older more mature with the knowledge that comes from learning from his experiences. As they were gazing down at the herd of cows the young bull looked to the older bull and said “Why don’t we run down the hill, and surprise one of those cows and get to know her.”

The older bull, chewing on his cud, thought for a bit, slowly looked around at the herd of cows grazing down below thinking about what the young bull had just said and replied,” Why don’t we just mozy down the hill and get to know them all”

The Moral

Because of how the businessman explained to me through the story he told, The moral of his story has stayed with me to this day almost thirty years later and has served me well and mad me realize why it is important to take my time to research and study each step I took when it came to making important decisions in my life.

“Out Of The Box” - The Psychology

This also enabled me to look at things from different perspectives, explore new ideas and be able to think “out of the box”. Being able to put yourself on the outside looking in is something that takes time, effort and discipline to master. Too often we get tunnel vision because what we know and how we have always done things in our lives tend to get in the way and hold us back. It could be out of fear of the unknown and or being satisfied with the status quo unwilling to change and accept new methods and ways of doing things whether consciously or unconsciously.

As in the young bull’s case, he was just young and inexperienced and to quick to react because this is all he knew, but there are also other deep seated forces at play in our brains. But Instead of getting to deep into the psychology of how our brains work, I will refer you to an enjoyable read I had this week that delves into the psychology of how we often justify or react to resisting change entitled Why Businesses Have a Hard Time Fixing What’s Broken .

By now you must be wandering how this all ties into why bigger is not always better. My intention here is slow you down and open you mind so that you are consciously aware of how our minds work so that you might better absorb the point I want to get across. In other words this is meant to open up your mind to take a more objective view and think “out of the box”.


Why Bigger is not always better –

When the bottom line is more important

Big business and influencers in our lives have the resources and have been able to condition us to think feel and react they way they think we should at any given point in time and can miraculously do a complete turnaround without raising the eyebrows of the masses. One year eggs are bad then the next milk then something else and then all of the sudden they are good again. You could also compare it to what was being said recently about SEO and linking in search engine marketing. How can this be? Maybe it is through new research. then we must ask who is doing the research, but many times a lot of it is through conditioning so companies can lead you to make the decisions they want you to make.

Buy the name

This conditioning has also been a factor in leading us to believe that bigger is better and because a company has the resources to get their attention through high priced marketing campaigns they can usually do the better job. A big business is a successful business according to the way many think but many times they have strayed from or lost what made them successful so possibly they are not the ones who are going to give 110 percent or do the better job to make you the best you can be.

Many times an executive, committee or employee will go with a bigger more well know company because they feel safer and less exposed to shoulder the blame if it does not work out instead of going with a smaller lesser known company or firm that might be a better fit.

If we go back thirty years or more you will discover that companies like Digital Equipment, Wang, and almost IBM went extinct or study mergers over just the past ten years that were usually a bad idea. A few examples are AOL – Time Warner – CNN, Kmart and Sears, the airline industry, and the department store industry, to name a few. Why, because they became bloated, many had conflicting cultures and they could not react, innovate or implement fast enough to keep up with smaller more nimble companies. And if you study economics you will discover that many things like the bigger is better mentality is cyclic and tends to repeat itself like fashion and often history itself.

Meaning they could not offer their clients the kind of service and real time innovation that their smaller more nimble competitors could.


But Wait……

If you think about it a smaller business has the ability and is motivated to communicate quicker and more efficiently to provide a higher quality service. Response and therefore reaction times are much greater which allow smaller nimble businesses the ability to build closer relationships with customers to better understand their needs and have the willingness to try new ideas. Better communication equates to more income, lower operating costs and quicker implementation of new technologies.

I know from experience, as I am sure you do, with big companies - having to fill out job tickets and wait for a response and even longer to get something done or making three or four calls to get to the person you need to get an issue resolved or make a change to something. If these types of things are happening how efficiently are they handling your account?

Also, quite often new or smaller accounts get passed to newer less experienced personnel. In a smaller firm everyone from the CEO down is involved in the planning and execution of each detail and they are constantly thinking of and discussing new innovative ways to improve.

One Size Fits All? You Need To-----

Companies that offer a one size fits all or all in one solution cannot possibly be on top of their game in everything they are offering. No one can be everything to everybody. It may be the easy way out but when was the easy way ever the best way?

Every business is unique onto itself and what works well for one business may not work well for another-even the same types of business and even in the same market area. This is why you need a company that is going to constantly work to find those sweet spots that are going to keep you at the top of your game.

And by the way-

I did not buy that piece of real estate that I was desperate to buy but ended up buying another property that returned much more than I could have expected from the one I wanted so desperately.

William Cosgrove


The photo entitled blinders by (liberal) Nick Anderson at…